Narrative in Videogames …. Or Lack thereof

Destiny’s logo

While this post does not deal with any material that we have covered in class, as far as the games that we have played, I still think that it would be interesting to have a discussion on this topic nonetheless!

Sometimes, it feels like a video game gets released that does not really have much of a narrative or story to it. This September, for example, a game called Destiny was released to a myriad of disappointment from reviewers and players alike, and one of the most frequent complaints that this game had was that it was lacking a story. After playing Destiny, which I know a few people in the class who have also played this game, I can confirm this complaint, as after I was finished with the game I sat back and realized that there were many unanswered questions and what little story that was being presented did not really go anywhere. The developers of Destiny plan to release downloadable content (DLC) in the future that is promised to have more story content and expand on the narrative in a way that the original game failed to do; It is important to note that these DLCs are not free and cost another twenty dollars each (there are two planned DLCs currently), and that money is required to purchase this content on top of already spending sixty dollars for the game itself. However, people continue to play and purchase Destiny, as the game’s core mechanics are solid and there is still much fun to have through just the gameplay.


I feel that video games are among the only forms of entertainment that can release a product that is unfinished and still have millions of people purchase the content; for example, despite having no story, Destiny sold over five million copies in the first week alone and continued to have strong sales for months following release. I find this interesting and when I attempt to picture a novel publisher attempting to do same thing that some video game companies do and I cannot help but laugh. Imagine if a five hundred-page novel just was released from your favorite author, so you go to the store and pay sixty dollars to purchase it (very expensive novel). You get home and sit down to being reading it and instantly you love it. About two hundred pages in, however, the story completely ends and random words fill the remaining three hundred pages. You flip to the last page to see if this is a mistake, and the last line says that to finish reading the story, you must pay another twenty dollars to unlock the next one hundred and fifty pages. Obviously most people would not pay this money and would stop purchasing novels from that author, however gamers continue to shell out money to gaming companies that are essentially doing the same thing. Thoughts?

0 thoughts on “Narrative in Videogames …. Or Lack thereof

  1. I’d like to challenge your analogy to literature a bit. I think a more accurate comparison would be a book with a mundane plot, or a story rife with cliches. These books are all over the market, and they are selling millions of copies. I think this is a sort of universal failure of the market to highlight good products, not something that is limited to the gaming industry.

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